What if we told you that there was an umbrella out there—the best umbrella—that could change your life? It’d be wild if we told you that. Unfortunately it’s true. If you’ve been living without a great umbrella—something sturdy, with a wide canopy, that won’t immediately collapse at the first sight of rain—your life is about to get a lot better.
Sure, you can always buy an umbrella for $5+ on the street. But that thing is a piece of shit. It will invert and crumple if you forcefully whisper into it. By spending even a little bit more money for the best umbrellas you’ll be able to get something that’ll last 10 times as long and won’t implode at the faintest suggestion of wind. Those umbrellas are big enough to cover you and your backpack, as well as prevent you from having to alter your routine whenever the rain starts to pour. You’ll take fewer Ubers for five-block walks. You’ll actually go outside during a light rain. You’ll wear leather and cashmere on days with clouds. What if the love of your life walks by you on a day where cumulonimbus clouds rain from above, and you’re not wearing your sick leather jacket? Destiny favors the bold and dry.
Don’t let the egomaniac charlatans on internet umbrella forums tell you otherwise: there’s no such thing as a perfect umbrella. You've got to let the right umbrella choose you. There are umbrellas that can withstand 70 mph winds, which is great if you refuse to heed to the might of nature and/or run a thriving stormchaser YouTube channel. There are umbrellas that cost $10 more than a junk umbrella, but will recoup their costs after one serious gust—and without the rush to the store to buy one. And then there are umbrellas so compact you’ll actually grab one when Alexa tells you there’s a 20 percent chance of rain in "Ooklyn, New York" today. (Dammit, Alexa. Brooklyn.) Below you'll find the best umbrellas we found to keep you dry.
The Best Collapsible Umbrella
Most people prefer a collapsible umbrella, and this is our favorite. These umbrellas from Blunt have a unique look—thanks to the blunt, rounded construction—that apparently confer some strength benefits. The company claims the umbrellas can resist winds of up to 55 mph, but that doesn’t really actually mean much for real-world use. What’s more important is that they bolster that claim with a 5-year warranty. This umbrella weighs less than a pound, packs up to the size of basically every other standard compact umbrella, and your friends will nod approvingly if you get one in a fun color. Solidly built, not insanely expensive, and they look about as cool as an umbrella can look without being a full-on you'd-weep-if-you-lost-it fashion umbrella. Sold.
The Best Compact Umbrella
The Davek Mini solves the actual biggest problem with umbrellas: that you either need to have a backpack or large coat pocket to keep one with you. That it still holds sturdy is extremely impressive: it covers the same square footage as most fold-up umbrellas, but it packs up to half the size. Seven inches tall, honest-to-god back-pocket-able if you don’t wear rockstar-tight jeans. Its small 26-inch canopy might not cover your head as well as the Blunt umbrella, but for most conditions, it’ll serve you just fine. Especially since the Mini is backed by an unconditional lifetime guarantee.
The Best Lightweight Umbrella
If you want an umbrella you can just toss into your backpack and forget about until you get caught under a February cocktail of rain, hail, and slush, you should get this umbrella from Lewis N. Clark. It’s got a bigger canopy than the Davek Mini, which will ensure that you stay fully dry in such a downpour. And though it collapses to a slightly longer size as the Davek, it weighs a little bit less. It also offers a great opportunity to get your neon on, with a few more flashy colors.
The Best Classic Umbrella
We lauded the Blunt Metro umbrella above, and this is the non-fold-up version. It’s slightly more wind-resistant—72 mph, which is a wind speed for which we'd actually recommend remaining indoors if at all possible. But more importantly, it’s got a wider canopy, which makes sliding another person under it a little more feasible when disaster strikes. It’s solidly built, and again, the sheen and vibrancy of the canopy makes it an aesthetically-pleasing option, but without looking too fussy or designer. You’re gonna have this thing for a long time, so get a color you’re willing to stand by for the next decade.
The Best Wind-Resistant Umbrella
If you must leave the comfort of your home during a hurricane-like storm, you’ll need an umbrella with a double canopy. The design of these umbrellas incorporates a wind-vent (a space between the stacked canopies) that allows a gust to pass through your umbrella instead of getting caught inside of it. It might sound unintuitive, but this helps make sure the umbrella almost never inverts, preventing you from the awkward experience for trying to shake your umbrella back to normal. This LifeTek model is well-built and sturdy. After years of use, its automatic open close mechanism is speedy and hasn’t started to break down or malfunction at all. It comes in a few nice muted colors, and has a two year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship.
The Best Cheap Umbrella
There are a lot of $10-$20 umbrellas out there, and honestly, they all stack up pretty similarly. In fact, if I were a guessing man, I’d say a lot of them are coming from the same factory. They’ll all beat your average umbrella sold on the street/corner store, but we like this one from AmazonBasics best. It holds up well, has a pretty good surface area, and a wind-vent, which sets it apart from most umbrellas at this price. The materials feel a little flimsier and the pop up is less satisfying than that on our other favorites, but those sacrifices might be worth it if you’re looking to save as much money as possible.
The Umbrella That Will Make Someone Stop You to Say, “Cool Umbrella”
$65.00, Certain Standard
None of the umbrellas we’ve collected so far look bad, so to speak, but you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who’d refer to them as a fashion flex. You could pretty easily say that of the Certain Standard umbrella. The umbrella’s advantage is its cork handle, which feels really nice as your gripping onto it for dear life in the middle of a downpour. The umbrella also comes in a few lovely colorways, each of which includes an antique white accent patch. It’s the kind of umbrella that gives off stick umbrella credentials without forcing you into the company of people who want to spend all of their time talking about stick umbrellas.
Five Other Umbrellas We Like
If you’re style leans more classic menswear than wild, wavy, and Dennis Rodman-esque, you’ll likely feel weird carrying anything other than a stick umbrella. Nothing pairs as well with a suit as something like this London undercover umbrella, which comes in a wonderful navy and orange colorway. Its steel frame and wood handles are sure to keep you dry, regardless of whether you’re wearing oxfords or brogues.
Bubble umbrellas have a unique shape that allows you to leverage their clear canopy to see where you're going. Unfortunately that canopy tends to have no structural integrity and tears the first time you use it. That said, we’ve never been unhappy with rain gear from Hunter, so there’s no reason to expect this umbrella to have the same issues as those from cheaper brands. If it had an automatic opening, it might be one of our top picks.
Nothing quite like an iconic pattern to keep you dry.
The detailing is a little more reserved on this umbrella than you might expect from Paul Smith. But the designer’s signature stamp, vertical stripes in a multiplicity of colors, are there, right on the trim.
The only umbrella on this list fit for Lucius Malfoy. Or, as one GQ staffer put it, an umbrella that makes it abundantly clear that you are up to no good.
Originally Appeared on GQ